Latest F1 news in brief

  • Wurz not bothered about traction control ban
  • Bernie crosses fingers ahead of spy hearing
  • Vettel at Mugello but Speed keeps testing
  • Spying 'not the McLaren way' – Ramirez
  • Winkelhock resigned to DTM drive
  • Spyker confirms Yamamoto

Wurz not bothered about traction control ban
(GMM) Alex Wurz says he is not bothered about the impending ban on traction control in formula one.

Many teams have been experimenting with their electronic driver aids turned off at the Jerez and Mugello tests this week, as they prepare to install a standardized ECU in each car for the 2008 season.

Williams' Wurz is due to drive at Jerez on Thursday; the last test day before the summer break.

"Traction control doesn't make the driving easier," he told his team's official podcast.

"I'm totally open about what is coming. It's about the same for the drivers with or without traction control. The limit will just change slightly."

McLaren, Toyota, BMW, Renault, Red Bull, Super Aguri and Honda have also been testing at Jerez in the south of Spain, while Ferrari-powered Toro Rosso and Ferrari are in Mugello.

Spyker, meanwhile, tested the rear-end of its incoming 'B' car on Wednesday on the shorter Stowe circuit across the road from its Silverstone base.

Bernie crosses fingers ahead of spy hearing
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that he will also have his fingers crossed when McLaren is put under the spotlight in Thursday's emergency hearing of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris.

F1's chief executive, who will sit alongside FIA president Max Mosley inside the FIA headquarters at Place de la Concorde at 9.30am, hopes any sanctions for espionage will not affect the outcome of a stirring four-way battle for the world championship.

"Please God, (I hope) nothing's gone wrong and it will all be a lot of nonsense," he is quoted as saying by The Times.

Ecclestone, 76, thinks the accusation of spying between Ferrari and McLaren has already negatively detracted from the track action this year.

"I don't like it," he admits.

Alongside Spanish steward Joaquin Verdegay, then, Ecclestone is the second member of the 26-strong World Council to indicate that he will not be voting to either disqualify Ron Dennis' Woking based team or interrupt the battle for the title by, for example, docking championship points.

He said of the scandal: "Maybe it's nothing to do with one of the teams and maybe it's (just) the people."

Maranello based Ferrari, however, disagree.

A document lodged by Ferrari in the London High Court, obtained by the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera and The Guardian, claims it is "likely" that McLaren is only leading the world championship at present because of the information illegally sent by sacked employee Nigel Stepney.

The document says the fact that McLaren's suspended chief designer Mike Coughlan "was in possession of the Ferrari documents has given McLaren an unfair advantage over Ferrari" in 2007.

Ferrari also estimates the cost of possibly losing the championship at "at least" (US) $7.5 million, and said the Italian marque may additionally "suffer loss in respect of damage to the Ferrari brand".

Late on Wednesday, McLaren said the team would not comment on the issue.

Vettel at Mugello but Speed keeps testing
(GMM) As the dark cloud above Scott Speed's F1 career continues to hang, German rookie Sebastian Vettel on Wednesday turned up at the scene of the Mugello test.

Of course, the sight of a test driver at a formula one test is not unusual — except that Vettel's BMW-Sauber team was in action some 1500kms away at Jerez in Spain.

Alongside Ferrari, Toro Rosso is this week testing at Mugello, which is not far from Florence (Italy).

Vettel, 20, is tipped to take over Speed's Toro Rosso race seat for the balance of 2007 following the 24-year-old Californian's spectacular falling out with the Faenza based team's management.

A STR spokesperson, however, insisted that Toro Rosso's test schedule was running to plan at Mugello. Speed took to the wheel on Wednesday and looks set to stay in the car on Thursday for the final day before the summer break.

Spying 'not the McLaren way' – Ramirez
(GMM) Retired long-time McLaren employee Jo Ramirez has backed Ron Dennis' Woking based team as it prepares to face a spy charge on Thursday.

The 66-year-old, who for 17 years until he retired in 2001 was McLaren's team coordinator, slammed Ferrari's Nigel Stepney and McLaren designer Mike Coughlan as both "stupid" for getting involved in the transfer and receipt of secret Ferrari material.

Ramirez told "It is very unfortunate that McLaren became entangled in this affair."

He insists that Dennis' integrity is second to none in the F1 paddock.

"For more than 18 years he was my boss," Ramirez said, "so I am one hundred per cent certain that he has nothing to do with it.

"I know Ron very well and I know that in his life he would never permit such a thing.

"When I was with the team, there was never any betrayal and we never copied anything — that is not the way at McLaren."

Winkelhock resigned to DTM drive
(GMM) Markus Winkelhock is resigned to returning to the German touring car series (DTM) for the rest of 2007 after making his formula one debut for Spyker at the Nurburgring.

With the Dutch team set to confirm Japanese pay-driver Sakon Yamamoto for the remaining seven races on Thursday, Spyker reserve driver Winkelhock is now preparing to return to team boss Colin Kolles' Futurecom-TME Audi squad.

"It is planned that I may drive until the end of the season in the 2005 Audi," the 27-year-old German, who returned to the series with ninth at Mugello recently after team regular Adam Carroll ran into sponsor trouble, confirmed in an interview with Auto Motor und Sport.

He added: "With a bit of luck I could even be in the points at Zandvoort, even if with this car it is very difficult."

Spyker confirms Yamamoto
The Etihad Aldar Spyker Formula One Team is pleased to announce Sakon Yamamoto will partner Adrian Sutil for the remaining seven races of the 2007 FIA Formula One World Championship.

The 25-year-old from Toyohashi, Japan, made his Formula 1 debut at his home Grand Prix in Suzuka with Spyker's predecessors, Jordan, in 2005. The following year Sakon joined the Super Aguri F1 Team as test and third driver before stepping up to race in the last seven rounds of the 2006 season. After securing three consecutive finishes in China, Japan and Brazil, Sakon moved to the GP2 series with BCN Competition at the beginning of 2007.

Sakon commented, 'I am very pleased to get the opportunity to race in Formula 1 again. I know all the circuits we are going to very well, having raced at them with Aguri last year. I also know the team from my test in 2005 so I feel ready for the chance. I want to do the best I can and help the team achieve their objective of moving up the field. I'm looking forward to working with them.'

Team principal and managing director, Colin Kolles, said, 'We would like to welcome Sakon back to the team after a long absence. He is one of the most promising young Japanese drivers who showed potential in the races he contested in 2006 and I think he and Adrian will be a complimentary pairing. Sakon's experience of the circuits we visit in the second half of the season will be a big advantage to us as we move forward.'

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